Introductory Offer The supermarket isn't the only place you'll find free samples: The "New Jazz Triple Bill" offers a taste of Bay Area jazz flavor with sets by the Will Bernard Quartet, Pothole, and Dogslyde. Expect to hear more than three variations on the jazz theme, including psychedelia and funk, ambient and post-bebop, with organ and horns thrown into the mix. With these groups you also get indirect exposure to all the other bands these musicians play with: Pothole bassist Keith McArthur is a member of Spearhead, bandmate Jan Jackson was a drummer for the Flamin' Groovies, and Will Bernard plays for Pothole as well as his eponymous quartet. Dogslyde opens at 9:15 p.m. at Slim's, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is free; call 522-0333.
Golden Oldies California prospectors beat a path northward in 1898 after gold was discovered on Alaska's Seward Peninsula; some, like Wilfred McDaniel, kept a record of their adventures. McDaniel and his brother Edmund left home for Nome, where they became gold miners, and Wilfred was evidently one of the few fortune hunters who brought along a camera, with which he documented his new life. McDaniel's photos will be shown with mining artifacts and tools, toys, weapons, and utensils from the McDaniel family collection in the archival exhibit "Alaska Gold: Life on the New Frontier," a slice of California history that also includes letters, diaries, and postcards describing McDaniel's voyage, his new neighbors, the abrupt climate change, and a miner's life. The exhibit opens at 11 a.m. at the California Historical Society Museum, 678 Mission (at Third Street), S.F. Admission is free-$3; call 357-1848. The Historical Society is one of 35 neighborhood galleries and museums opening their doors to the third annual Gardens Gallery Walk, which includes venues ranging in size and scope from the SFMOMA and the Jewish and Mexican museums to the recently bailed-out Cartoon Art Museum and the Center for Electronic Art. The walk happens from 2 to 9 p.m. today throughout the Yerba Buena Gardens neighborhood; call 541-0312 for more information, or pick up a map at any participating venue.
Cole Mining Popular shows draw crowds, but new productions of theatrical chestnuts will always be compared to older productions, and not always favorably. American Conservatory Theater ought to keep this in mind as they revive High Society. The well-loved musical, which features Cole Porter gems like "I Love Paris" and the sassy "Well Did You Evah," is based on Philip Barry's comedy The Philadelphia Story, in which spoiled but charming society girl Tracy Lord discovers true love the night before her wedding, after a drunken, wisecracking exchange with a tabloid journalist and an uninvited wedding guest. Katharine Hepburn played Lord on Broadway and in George Cukor's hit film of The Philadelphia Story, opposite Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, who won an Oscar for his role as the reporter. The 1956 film of High Society starred Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra. Fortunately, ACT can bank on the strength of the story and the score, and a solid cast including Broadway veteran Melissa Errico as Lord, in its production of High Society, which previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through Oct. 5) at the Geary Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), S.F. Admission is $11-51; call 749-2228.
It's All Good The warm, fuzzy feeling that comes of helping others just got warmer and fuzzier at a couple of local events. Professional makeup artist Francisco Zacarias will be doing wonders for outer beauty at the Body Shop's "Make a Difference With a Meaningful Makeover," while the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, a benefit for meal-making and delivery service Project Open Hand, proffers all things, well, chocolate, including pastries, dipped fortune cookies, truffles, and mousse, along with activities like an ice cream sundae-eating contest. And the S.F. Giants will be kicking off their weekend games with a food drive for the San Francisco Food Bank. Makeovers are given today and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Body Shop, 865 Market (at Fifth Street), S.F. Admission is a voluntary donation of $3 or more; call 929-5150. The Chocolate Festival begins at noon Saturday at Fountain and West plazas, Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $5; call 775-5500. The games begin at 1:05 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Candlestick Park, S.F. Admission is ticket price plus a donation of nonperishable food items; call 282-1900.
Post Haste Bigger isn't better in the case of "Post-Postcard II," a Four Walls invitational exhibit open to artists worldwide. Anything goes, thematically and technically, as long as the artist's work is small enough to fit into one of a series of identical boxes measuring 6 inches wide, 11 inches deep, and 4 1/2 inches high. Boxes will be installed along shelves lining the gallery walls, and will be priced no higher than $20 each, a boon to prospective collectors with limited means. Oddly enough, nobody did dioramas, but this year's show will include collages, paintings, production-run copies of postcards, and tiny objects like the threaded vellum from an artist in Idaho and the flat, silk-screened pieces from a Brazilian entrant. The show opens with a reception at 7 p.m. (and is up through Sept. 14) at Four Walls, 3160-A 16th St. (at Albion), S.F. Admission is free; call 626-8515.
Opera, Man Phantom of the Opera cast members, Opera Center Adler Fellows, San Francisco Ballet students, S.F. Gay Men's Chorus, Smuin Ballets/S.F., and Harry Denton's Starlight Orchestra are among the guests performing at the Opera Fair, but in case the afternoon sounds intimidatingly highbrow to some, organizers are also offering opera karaoke and macarena lessons (OK, and Phantom of the Opera, but let's not start). The fair, a celebration of the Opera House renovation and reopening, will feature tours of the building every 10 minutes at $1 a pop, and kids activities will be ongoing throughout the day. Plus local arts organizations will be setting up booths along the square, and musicians and greeters decked out in opera costumes will be roaming the periphery. The fair begins at 10 a.m. in the War Memorial Courtyard, Van Ness & Grove, S.F. Admission is free; call 861-4008. In a related note, the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum offers "Great Moments at the Opera House," an exhibit of photos, reviews, programs, and recordings of highlights like the appearances of Gershwin, Stravinsky, and Ballets Russes. The exhibit is open through the end of the year at 399 Grove (at Gough), S.F. Admission is free; call 255-4800.
Are You Art Lover Enough? Every 10 minutes for 12 hours, local comedians, dancers, actors, musicians, and monologuists will be performing at Theater Artaud's ninth annual Performance Marathon. The event, which features over 70 companies and 150 artists, is a cheap and effective way to discover who's doing what, and which performers you might want to see again. Run for Your Life! ... It's a Dance Company joins Contraband's Sara Shelton Mann, Fat Chance BellyDance, and the Stephen Pelton and Della Davidson dance companies in the terpsichorean corner; Connie Champagne, Amandla Poets, and the Golden Gate Men's Chorus are among the musical guests; and a Traveling Jewish Theater's Albert Greenberg helps hold up the theater end at the marathon, which runs from noon-midnight at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $8 and up sliding scale, good for a re-entry stamp; call 621-7797.
Faster, Enrique! Patty Duke as a slurring, pill-popping Hollywood has-been in Valley of the Dolls is funny enough, and the druggy three-way between the Strawberry Alarm Clock, director Russ Meyer, and screenwriter Roger Ebert that yielded Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is funnier still. And then there's Joe Eszterhas, whose work is so bad it's ... just bad. Hard on the high heels of the Castro's Valley of the Dolls revival, disco rockers Enrique and members of the Sick and Twisted Players do the starlets-gone-wrong genre one better with the original rock musical Above and Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls. Enrique, whose performances are marvels in hummable hooks and flammable outfits, and the Players, who specialize in reviving schlock dramas like The Poseidon Adventure, share a deep and abiding love of camp. And Above and Beyond, the story of three naive showgirls corrupted by sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, is all about camp, from the orgies to the angel dust freakouts. Viewers may create post-show scenarios of their own at midnight following each performance, when a guest band will play, followed by DJs Robeena Diet-Biscuit of "Trannyshack" and Deena Davenport of "Baby Judy's," who spin records until 2 a.m. The show begins at 10 p.m. (and runs Sunday nights through Sept. 28) at Club 181, 181 Eddy (at Market), S.F. Admission is $5; call 636-3987.
Brazil Nuts Bahia Cabana celebrates 175 years of independence from Portuguese rule with a street party illustrating the country's complex cultural heritage. The capoeira demonstrations offer some insight into African religious influence, and performances by Fogo na Roupa Samba School and Samba do Coracao spotlight popular music and dance styles. The fair offers games and kids activities, tourist information and food booths, and live music and dance performances throughout the day. It all begins at noon outside of Bahia Cabana, Market & Page, S.F. Admission is free; call 626-3306.
Parker Here Lovers of old-school funk and soul treat a Maceo Parker show sort of like a pilgrimage, essential and divine. Lucky for them, Parker keeps coming back and blowing his horn, the tenor, baritone, and alto saxes leading off some of James Brown's biggest hits, from "Cold Sweat" to "Gonna Have a Funky Good Time." A sometime member of P-Funk and a Parliament/Bootsy Collins offshoot called the Horny Horns, Parker played with Brown on and off for over 20 years, including a gig at the "Rumble in the Jungle" Ali-Foreman fight in Zaire immortalized in the movie When We Were Kings. That longtime collaboration shows when he gets up a cover of "Pass the Peas" or "I Got You (I Feel Good)," but Parker's way with a groove has left a singular impression on groups from the Rolling Stones to Deee-Lite. New Orleans' Royal Fingerbowl open for Parker at 9 p.m. tonight in the first show of a three-night run; the Latin jazz-schooled Cabaret Diosa open at 9 p.m. Tuesday and pop funksters What It Is open at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $17; call 885-0750.
Office Party There are enough working temps, waiting temps, and former temps in this town to keep the solo and sketch comedy collection "Financial District Side Show" in the black through the end of next year, and who better to appreciate Bridget Schwartz's aptly named Office Donkey sketch than a temp? Schwartz, a stand-up comic who got her start at the Holy City Zoo, turns her barbed wit on a Kelly girl whose eagerness to please at an early morning BofA assignment oscillates between the screaming boredom and unmitigated disasters that characterize her day. Schwartz shares the "Side Show" bill with Liz White, the founder of sketch comedy group the Associates, who rakes telemarketers over the coals in Telescammer Boiler Room, and Associates alum Bill Bernat, whose monologue The Businessman dives into the psyche of a Type A executive governed by committees and codes. "Side Show" begins at 8 p.m. (and continues Tuesdays through Sept. 30) at Venue 9, 252 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $6-10; call 626-2169.
Feet First Latin dance continues to enjoy an enthusiastic local following that can be traced at least as far back as the repeatedly extended dance show Forever Tango, if not before. While fans await the upcoming release of Carlos Saura's luminous dance film Flamenco, they can satisfy their hunger with Argentine dance company Tango x 2's production Milonga!, named for an Argentine dance party. In this internationally touring show, four accomplished duos led by Milena Plebs and Miguel Angel Zotto trace the vivid history and multiple nuances of the tango in 32 dance and musical numbers, accompanied by cabaret singer Roxana Fontan. The show begins at 8 p.m. (with additional performances through Sept. 14) at Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft & Telegraph, UC Berkeley campus. Admission is $18-40; call (510) 642-9988.